Michael Shaps Cabernet Franc 2020
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The fruit for the 2020 Cabernet Franc was sourced from a few of the best vineyard sites Michael could find that year. Honah Lee makes up the majority which consistently delivers excellent fruit from its high elevation of 1000 ft. Cabernet franc flourishes here where it can ripen easily while maintaining some of it’s typical green notes. Crimson Lane, Russ Mountain, and Cedar creek all contribute some of the other varieties needed to round out this wine, adding depth and complexity to this vintage.
All of our cabernet franc is hand harvested and transferred to the winery for cooling prior to de-stemming without crushing. 20% whole berry return is added to the tank to help bring out a brighter fruit component. A 48-hour cold maceration prior to fermentation helps build mouth feel and color without extracting too much tannin. No commercial yeast strains are used, as we prefer to create a starter from its own juice during the cold maceration process. We conduct pump-overs twice daily throughout fermentation; after it’s complete we continue to extend the maceration for several weeks with daily pump-overs.
After pressing and settling, the wine is transferred to French oak barrels, of which 25% are new oak. Malolactic fermentation occurs during barrel aging. After the malolactic is complete the wine is racked and aged for a total of 18 months before being bottled unfiltered.
Cabernet franc has been one of Michael’s favorite varieties to make because of its unique expression and style that represents the variety and Virginia well. Cabernet franc is resistant to Virginia’s humid conditions and ripens well on the deep clay soils. This vintage shows some bright fruit flavors like red cherry and raspberry as well as some chocolate and cedar on the finish. It is a medium bodied wine that will pair wonderfully with roasted lamb, beef stew, and cave ripened cheeses. Enjoyable now, but can aged for about 3-5 years.